Monday, 19 February 2018

From MartinN: Spanish Civil War Milicianas & Milicianos (95 points)

It's almost been a month since my last entry, which is a shame as I had the miniatures for this submission sitting almost finished on my desk, for the best part of two weeks.

Real life got in the way and thus I only came round to take pictures this week.

But to make up for my inexcusable lack of activity today's submission, at least partially, consists of my contribution to the most important and illustrious part of the challenge aka "Sarah's Choice".

These eight pugnacious ladies are, of course, from the excellent Spanish Civi War range by Empress Miniatures. You'll find quite a few iterations of these figures on this very blog, thus I thought it high time to have a crack at them myself.

In 1936 many young (and some more elderly) women decided to take up arms in order to defend the Republic against the fascist rebellion led by General Franco. These courageous women joined the ranks of the various militia units and fought and died alongside their male comrades.

After the shock of the initial months of the war wore off, many of these women found themselves transferred to rear echelon units. Some, no doubt male, members of the republican leadership obviously deeming it unsuitable for women to fight. Of course most of the milicianas strongly detested this recall from front-line service, which they saw as a step back from the gains in, to use a more modern term here, gender equality.

Nonetheless women still played a vital part in the republican propaganda.

First I wanted to go down the route of reason and paint up my milicianas as part of a communist militia unit like the UHP in order to field them alongside my International Brigades.

But it only took a little mulling over the matter to decide it would be much more 'flashy' to let them sport the red/ black colours of the Anarchists. And looking at the standard bearer below I'm sure you'll agree it was the right decision. After all, who's to stop me from painting up a whole anarchist militia force to support these fine ladies? The standard, of course, was provided by the excellent Flags of War.

While speaking of strong women in the Spanish Civil War we may not forget German born photographer Gerda Taro. She was probably the first female 'embedded' war photographer and certainly the first to die in that capacity. Sadly today she's mostly forgotten and if remembered at all than mostly for her being the partner of Robert Capa. 

The figure below clearly is inspired by one of her more famous photographs, even if some detail was changed unfortunately. I would have preferred for the sculpt to be as close to the original as possible.  I imagine her to be the daughter of some wealthy aristocrat who ran away to fight for her youthful ideals.

Regrettably the female miniatures in this post are all that are available through Empress. To flash out the ranks a little further I'm currently thinking about getting me some of the "Women of the Home Front" by Bad Squiddo Games. When painted accordingly they should fit in rather well I hope.

Now back to the more mundane things in wargaming, i.e. male miniatures.

First off are three minor conversions I did using miniatures from other ranges. I'm not sure from whom the first one is but he's been a journalist or the like until kitted out with rifle and helmet. The second one was a WW1 British officer from Great War Miniatures. Last in the row is a former banker by Footsore Miniatures. He seems to had a major rethink about his former trade so decided to join the ranks of the Republic... or is he maybe the father of the young lady above?

Both miniatures were simple head swaps to make them fit the setting.

The banker will travel to Canada in the forseeable future as my nod towards Curt for taking up the SCW challenge this year again, albeit failing miserably it seems ;-)

Seven more milicianos than form the rest of my submission for this week. First time I tried to paint cord fabric and frankly I quite like the look of it. Gives the miniatures a distinctive 1930's look I think.

This submission sees me finishing a playable force for the SCW supplement for Chain of Command, which has recently become our rule set of choice for anything 20th century.

A final group shot of all the miniatures together 

So, that's 18 miniatures in 28mm, which should equate to 90 points.

I conclude this rather lengthy post with a band I only recently stumbled upon. For some reason they've managed to evade my attention but now, on my never ending search for "more noise" (tm), they've secured themselves a secure place in my personal hit list. Maybe something for you again Millsy?
Interpret: Brennstoff
Song: Mein Freund


A truly fantastic submission, Nick. Everything about this submission is exemplary, from the wonderful, lustrous colour of the paint, to the careful and subtle conversions, to the utility of the figures and the deep, rich knowledge and love of the history behind these remarkable people.

I love the way you’ve not just painted the figures, but painted them in the clothing they may have worn in 1936 – from the polka-dot dress, to the pin striped trousers, from the blue boiler suits to the re-purposed helmet on the war-weary journalist. Terrific work, and remarkable to have a former banker now turned anarchist – especially one still wearing his Windsor-knotted tie!!

These figures would be worthy of a place on any table, from Zaragoza to Granada, and from Valencia to Oviedo. Lovely, just lovely.

90 points, with an extra 5 for the conversions and the history, brings you to 95 points, each one woven with great skill around this fine entry. 


  1. Wonderful stuff Nick, I do like feisty women and you've done this lot proud.

  2. Really well painted, absolutely historical

  3. Holy smokes Nick, once again the brushwork is just incredible, really, really amazing. Very, very well done.

  4. Wow. Just beutiful. You could write the book on how to paint SCW (or did you already?) and 20th cetury in general. The textures are stunning.

  5. Every one a classic paint job . Love em .

  6. Top entry Nick, and lovely work on those textiles!

  7. Totally fabulous figures! I'm glad you went with the classic anarchist colours, they just look wonderful!
    Best Iain

  8. Lovely lethal ladies!
    The fierce determination of these women to fight for their ideals is amazing and inspirational. Unfortunately so many names are lost and I would like to think that Gerda Taro’s legacy is an excellent way to remember and honour all of The Milicianas.
    Well done and an excellent entrant for Sarah’s Choice.

  9. Absolutely stunning Nick. I love all of them, especially your work on the pinstripes and corduroy - just beautiful. I'm a big fan of Taro and Capa's work and love seeing any of their photographs (I have a suspicion that that photo of the woman with the pistol is a self portrait). If you get the chance you can do a search and find a recent discovery of a photograph of Taro being treated on her deathbed by a Republican doctor. It's quite moving.

    Now, I need to do SOMETHING for my part of our SCW duel or I won't get a figure for being the lowest scoring amongst us. ;P

  10. These are cool. Not just the colors, but the manner in which you painted them. The style of the paint works is great here! Really bringing a lot of the models to life there!

  11. Almost missed these and mighty happy I didn't! These look stunning Nick and that flag!! Really can't wait to see these!


  12. Cracking work Nick! Your SCW work really is one of my favorite projects from the this and the last challenge!